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Commission unable to agree on redistricting

Staff writer

County commissioners spent more than an hour and a half Monday discussing a new county redistricting proposal and proposing two additional ones, but ultimately chose none of them and set a work session for Thursday.

Commissioners have given much discussion to redistricting the county since voters approved creation of a five-member commission in November. No apparent resolution has been found.

The first proposal studied during Monday’s meeting left both Hillsboro and Marion intact as districts and divided the rest of the county into three districts.

“This is my proposal I’m presenting now,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.

That proposal left Hillsboro as a district about 500 people more than the next largest district.

“That’s my latest and greatest,” Novak said.

The next proposal split Hillsboro east and west, giving the west half to a district with Menno and West Branch townships, and the east half to a district with Logan, Moore, Lehigh, and Risley townships; and divided Marion north and south, giving the north half to a district with Blaine, Durham Park, Colfax, Clark, Lost Springs, and Clear Creek townships and the south half to a district with Gale, Wilson, Fairplay, Centre, and Grant townships.

The third proposal still split the cities and gave the east half of Hillsboro to a district with Moore, Durham Park, Lehigh and Risley townships; and the north half of Marion to a district with Blaine, Durham Park, Colfax, Clark, Lost Springs, and Clear Creek townships.

Kyle Isaac, a former Marion County emergency medical technician, asked commissioners to reconsider his termination by interim EMS director Bob Church.

Isaac said he’d been written up for trading a shift with another employee, but had not known that is permissible only for part-time employees. He was later written up for an argument with a co-worker over cleaning an ambulance. Later, he was written up for doing work at Hillsboro Community Hospital not within his scope of duty while wearing his uniform. Last, he was written up for being six to 10 days past deadline in completing a chart.

“I felt like none of those are fireable offenses and I want my job back,” Isaac told commissioners.

“I guess in my thoughts, those are pretty severe infractions,” Novak said. “I will also say the action of termination was what the commission said to do.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said in light of a newly-hired Emergency Medical Service director coming on board, Isaac could talk with him and see if he wants to hire Isaac back.

Several people spoke on Isaac’s behalf, including paramedic Larry Larson, other EMS employees, and Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston.

County counsel Brad Jantz said further discussion should be held in an executive session.

Commissioner Kent Becker moved to retain Isaac on part-time status until the new director arrives, but the motion died due to lack of a second.

Last modified Dec. 21, 2018

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